New Orleans Saints vs Minnesota Vikings Divisional Playoff Preview
The New Orleans Saints saw themselves punch their ticket into the divisional round the of the NFL Playoffs with their 31-26 win over the Carolina Panthers last Sunday. The Saints started off on fire and Drew Brees was the reason behind it. Brees threw for 372 yards with 2 touchdowns and 1 interception. He now gets a date with the number one defense in the NFL, the Minnesota Vikings.
The Vikings are coming off a first round bye as they come into the divisional round, which will ensure them of being well rested and well prepared for the Saints. They are a 5 point favorite heading into Sunday’s match up with New Orleans, according to Las Vegas.
This is a rematch of their week one match up in Minnesota where the Vikings won that game by a score of 29-19. Both of these teams are very different from that match up to now though. The Vikings quarterback in that match up was Sam Bradford, who has missed all season due to injury. This Sunday they will have Case Keenum under center, who has led this team to the #2 seed in the NFC.
Keenum finished the 2017 season with 3,547 yards and a 22 to 7 touchdown to interception ratio. There has been many rumbings about who would be Minnesota’s QB for the playoff push since Sam Bradford has now been cleared. The Vikings are sticking with what got them to this point, and that is Case Keenum.
In the Week 1 match up, the biggest story line was the return of Adrian Peterson to Minnesota. This time around, Peterson will be watching the game from his couch, as he was traded to Arizona early in the year. The reason he was dealt to the Cardinals was the emergence of Saints rookie RB Alvin Kamara.
The Vikings top ranked defense vs the run will have their hands full with the Saints rushing attack. With the duo or Kamara and Ingram they are the league’s best one-two punch.According to ESPN Stats and Information, Ingram and Kamara are the third pair of teammates ever to score 10 combined touchdowns and amass 1,200 scrimmage yards in the same season, and are the first since 1988.
One week ago, Carolina set out to stop the run game and make Drew Brees beat them. The Panthers did indeed stop the run, but they could not contain Mr. Brees. Kamara and Ingram combined for only 55 rushing yards and 23 receiving yards.
I would assume Minnesota would set out the same game plan, as this game plan gave Carolina a chance to win the game. The problem with a game plan to stop the run vs the Saints is the fact they have Drew Brees. The future Hall of Famer knows what he will have to do in order to knock off the #2 seeded Vikings.
He will have to turn to his pass catchers to make big plays for them just like they have all season long. Look for WR Michael Thomas and WR Ted Ginn Jr to be called on early and often. I think these two as well as Ingram and Kamara will make enough plays to get the job done.
The Saints offense is just too much to handle for any defense, and I think they will put up enough points to pull out with win on the road and move onto the NFC Championship game, where they will either host Atlanta or travel to Philadelphia.